March 15, 2017
Koko: It's "All for one and one for all" in a federal nation
Senate President Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III said the proposed federal system of government for the country would lead to the creation of 11 regional governments, practicing an age-old motto, "All for one and one for all."
"It's like being in a family - you take care of each other even if everyone lives his own life," said Pimentel, adding the concepts of federalism involved unity amidst diversity and self-determination.
In a speech before the general assembly of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines at the Manila Hotel, Pimentel said the one change that the government of President Duterte wanted to realize is the adoption of federalism.
"We see it as the practical solution to the age-old problems of poverty, inequality, and instability that continue to hobble the development of our nation," he told the gathering of incumbent municipal mayors.
Pimentel said federalism would help erase the two faces of Philippine society under a unicameral government that has a highly-centralized structure by allowing the neglected areas to catch up with the more affluent ones.
This dichotomy in Philippine society, he said, where there are places of wealth, comfort, and modernity, and places of extreme poverty, happened under a unitary system with Metro Manila as the one and only center of power.
Pimentel said if the Philippines would not change, then the rich regions only become richer, while the poor regions become still poorer because capital, talent, and infrastructure are already concentrated in these rich regions.
"Not to mention that the law and order situation is better in these regions. They are also still the areas closest to the center of power. So, these already rich areas therefore are the ones that can take most advantage of the economic growth the Philippines is projected to enjoy," he said.
The burgeoning movement to adopt a federal system government with a bicameral legislature is contained in a number of bills filed both in the Lower House and the Senate, proposing amendments to the 1987 Constitution.
Pimentel said once embedded in the revised Constitution, the federal system would empower the people in the various regions to determine the kind of development they would like to see in their own communities.
The regions would be free to invite the kind of investments they want to come into their respective jurisdictions, offer them incentives, without needing permission from the central government.
"They would determine the over-all direction of their development," he said, adding that under the principle of subsidiarity in a federal nation the regions would be empowered and capacitated to chart their own destiny.
He said the principle of subsidiarity is complemented by the principle of solidarity because every component unit of a federal nation is an equal part of the federation.
"Each of the component units has an equal say in the affairs of the union, as partner in the development of the component units and of the federation as a whole," he said.
"Solidarity also means that the welfare of each component unit is the business of all the other component units. All for one and one for all. This is so because these component units are mutually supportive," he noted.
In the proposed regions prepared by the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino Lakas ng Bayan (PDP LABAN), the Regional Government of Northern Luzon will be composed of Regions 1 and 2 and the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR).
The others are: Central Luzon - Region 3; Metro Manila - National Capital Region; Southern Tagalog - Region 4-A; Bicol - Region 5; MIMAROPA; Western Visayas - Region 6; Central-Eastern Visayas - Regions 7 and 8; Northern Mindanao - Regions 9, 10 and CARAGA; Southern Mindanao - Regions 11 and 12; and the Bangsa Moro Regional Government.
The regional governments, he said, will be led by a regional governor directly elected by the people in the region. They will have their own regional assemblies, a unicameral body.
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